Encouragement for Today - Sept. 1, 2009
September 1, 2009
He Speaks - Part I
"She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said.
‘…only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.'" Luke 10:39, 42 (NIV)
I remember driving down the road with my verbose 3-year-old son riding in the back seat. He had been talking for quite some time, and this listener was getting tired. I broke into his monologue with a suggestion. "Anson, sweetheart, why don't you take a breath and rest a while?" With only a pause for my words, he blurted out, "But Mommy, I don't like to breathe. I like to talk…" and he continued his stream of speech. I sighed, chuckled and resumed listening.
Years later, that scene came back to my mind after a dinner with my friend Maggie. I had been listening to Maggie talk excitedly about the work God was doing in her life. She was a new believer, and she was experiencing the transformation of her life with wide-eyed wonder. Everything about her new relationship with God was fascinating and fresh. She emanated joy.
Although I was enjoying Maggie's passion, I started to wonder, "Where did my joy go?" I too could think of times when I had been consumed by watching and participating in the awesome work of God. I remembered mountain top experiences when I felt full of passion, fire and overwhelming joy. Yet here I was in the midst of one of the greatest times of kingdom building that I had ever experienced, and I felt empty, depleted and downright exhausted. "How did I get to this place?" I wondered to myself. I was teaching Sunday school, speaking and writing with regularity. God had opened doors wide for ministry, but my batteries were running low.
At the end of dinner, Maggie and I exchanged prayer requests. She gave me a few, and then it was my turn. I struggled internally with how real I could be. Maggie was a new Christian. Surely I would discourage her if I confessed a lack of joy and passion. God's still voice urged me to be transparent, though, and I found myself pouring out my heart in frustration. "I'm in God's Word every day as I prepare to teach," I explained to Maggie. "I'm always praying for the events and women where I'm going, but I feel wrung out and joyless. Please pray for me."
My sweet, wise friend looked compassionately at me for a minute before she asked an essential question, "When was the last time that you spent time reading the Bible and praying when you weren't preparing for something? How long has it been since you just spent time with God to enjoy Him?"
She had seen through all the spiritual rhetoric right to the source of the problem. Like my young son, I had been so busy talking to God—preparing, studying, delving, interceding, teaching, speaking—that I hadn't taken time to breathe in a deep breath of His Spirit. I hadn't taken time to worship God for who He is, to meditate on a juicy piece of His Word or to bask in His presence. In my drive to do all for an audience of One, I had forgotten to slow down and take time with the One I love.
Every day God reaches out to us with an incredible offer to spend time with our Creator and the Lover of our soul. Through prayer, Bible study and silence He faithfully fills us with His riches. We can walk away from time with Him full instead of empty; hopeful instead of despairing; peaceful instead of tumultuous.
After my discussion with Maggie, I chose to set time aside to just commune with God. Preparation time was separate. God is faithful! Joy returned and my passion was stoked. Join me now…one…two…three…breathe deep!
Dear Lord, still my heart. Silence my voice. Open my ears and eyes. Help me to breathe in a deep breath of your Spirit. Only You are sufficient to fill me, and I long to find fullness in You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Come Along: The Journey into a More Intimate Faith by Jane Rubietta
10 Minutes a Day with Jesus: Growing in Your Love for the Savior by Jim Reapsome
Visit Amy's blog
Make a daily appointment with God. He will meet you there!
Do I see my time with God as one thing on my checklist or a pleasure?
How can I use time with God to know Him better?
Psalm 84 1-2, 10, "How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty. My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked." (NIV)
© 2009 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
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Matthews, NC 28105